The Mushroom River Band

Music for the World Beyond

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Maybe it's the Mushroom River Band's ultra-clever name, or perhaps it's their debut album Music for the World Beyond's nearly-as-nifty title, but, whatever the reason, the music contained in the Swedish band's debut seemed a little disappointing when compared to their makers' way with words. More likely it's because, although expertly recorded and enthusiastically performed, full-throttle entries such as the title track, "Racing," and "Way to Go" simply lack that extra bit of songwriting invention to set them apart. Significantly, even nearly perfect stoner rock gems like "Mud Crusher" and "29' 2 1/2" (Into Thin Air)" suffer from a crippling case of "genre status quo" -- the likes of which will leave many listeners asking: "Now, where have I already heard that one before? Kyuss? Monster Magnet?" Similarly, the group's instrumental eponym track (lasting barely a minute and a half in duration) sounds like nothing less than a tribute to the guitar-solo-happy Atomic Bitchwax, and, were it not for its unconventionally percussive mid-section (think Brazilian drum squads gone north of the Equator), the neck-snapping "More Beer (Pelekas Part 1)," would be equally predictable. Therefore, one has to settle for the wicked quasi-doom riffs of "Addicted" for a final moment of "wow" before Music for the World Beyond descends into a mostly forgettable sameness, brought to unsatisfying conclusion by the unnecessarily sprawling, forcedly mellow "Free." All of which reiterates the assertion that, while difficult to fault within strict stylistic lines (i.e. stoner rock 101), this album can't quite live up to preconceived expectations -- something the Mushroom River Band would not let get in the way of their much improved second album, 2002's Simsalabim.

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